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This Day in Georgia History

November 06, 1857

Joseph E. Brown Sworn in as Governor

To view an image of Joseph E. Brown, see the Digital Library of Georgia.

Joseph E. Brown was sworn in as Georgia governor. Born at Long Creek, South Carolina on Apr. 15, 1821, he attended Yale Law School for two years. He practiced law in Georgia before serving one term in the Georgia Senate (1849-51) and two years as a superior court judge (1855-57). In 1857, he was elected governor of Georgia - an office he would hold for four two-year terms. With the election of Abraham Lincoln as president in 1860, Brown became a strong proponent of secession. During the Civil War, Brown generally placed the needs of Georgia over those of the Confederacy, and he clashed frequently with Pres. Jefferson Davis. At the end of the Civil War, Brown was arrested and taken to Washington. However, he was paroled and returned to Georgia, where he resigned as governor. Brown became an advisor to provisional governor James Johnson, which earned him a full pardon in Sept. 1865. Three years later, he was named chief justice of the Georgia Supreme Court. Brown returned to the practice of law in 1870 and became very successful - and wealthy. In 1880, he was appointed to fill the unexpired term of Senator John B. Gordon. Reelected in 1884, Brown six more years before retiring from public office. He returned to Georgia, where he died in Atlanta on Nov. 30, 1894. Brown was one of two Georgia governors whose son would also serve in this office.

Joseph E. Brown Sworn in as Governor View large image
Source: Photo: Ed Jackson